Alternatives to Master Narratives
In an academic environment in which the discipline of literary study is informed by contemporary critical theory, we are accustomed to raising questions about power and authority, about what's at stake when we read, and about the "master narratives" and their alternatives. In courses on the history of the English language, however, as taught within English departments, the master narrative is still firmly in place, where the linguistic equivalent of "Wulf to Woolf" is the order of the day. This presentation, based on examination of the textbook tradition, examines the nature of linguistic evidence on which the master narrative depends, and poses an alternative approach.
Keywords: History of the English language, Critical theory
Prof Patricia Moody
Associate Professor, English Department, Syracuse University